INTERVIEW: Heather Small performs in Chichester
Taken from the Midhurst and Petworth Observer.
Published Date: 12 November 2009
The last time she was in Chichester was as singer for M People on a great night at the Real Ale and Jazz Festival.
With M People, Heather Small became one of the seminal British voices of the 1990s.
Hits such as Moving On Up, One Night In Heaven and Search For The Hero saw the band sell millions of records, winning two Brit awards and the Mercury Music Prize.
This time, however, Heather is back in Chichester for a solo gig – a chance to spread her wings.
"I did some forest gigs with M People two years ago, but I have also done a lot of solo stuff.
It means I can sing any songs that I want, pop, blues, jazz, just what I feel is right for me.
"I have included some M People songs, but I want to try to do different things. I see myself as a singer now, and it is good to have that freedom. I am mature in voice and age! I like to experience different things."
She certainly feels – while taking nothing for granted – that she has developed as a vocalist down the years: "There are things that I sing now that I would not have dreamt of singing ten or 15 years ago, but it is not guaranteed.
"Your voice and your vocals are something that you have to carry around with you day in, day out. If you don't look after it, you lose it."
And that means?
"I don't eat meat, fish or dairy products, and I work out, and I am not one for drinking. I just don't like the taste. It's all about just being healthy in body and mind.
"It's a holistic thing. Everything in moderation is alright. You have to put yourself in the right frame of mind.
"You might not have had the best day in the world, but when you get on stage you have to make it that.
"The audience have come to forget and to be transported. I am aware of that – and that's why I get really, really nervous."
The trouble is it is hard to replicate that on-stage experience once you are off-stage, and so the worries set in: "But once I am on stage, you don't worry any more. I know I have enough experience to deal with whatever happens!"
Heather is at Chichester Festival Theatre on Saturday, November 14.